Poor food hygiene found in well-known drink shops in Taipei

Several popular frozen desserts and beverages fail hygiene tests

The government asked customers to pay more attention to food hygiene while buying ice products and beverages. (photo: Wikimedia Commons)

The government asked customers to pay more attention to food hygiene while buying ice products and beverages. (photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Taipei (Taiwan News) — Out of 82 frozen desserts and beverages tested by the Taipei City Government's Department of Health, 6 fell short of the hygiene standards.

Taipei City Government today (Aug. 5) revealed the results of a third round of food hygiene tests of unpackaged frozen products and their toppings, the sale of which soars in the summer heat. A total of 74 bulk products, as well as 8 kinds of toppings, were tested, and 6 failed to meet the hygiene standards in both the first and second rounds, including products from well-known drink shops and convenience stores.

Colonies of E. coli and Coliform bacteria were discovered in samples during the first test, with 39 products failing to meet government hygiene standards. The shops whose products failed the test were given a period of time to improve the hygiene of their products, but 6 of them failed again in the second round of testing.

Products that did not meet the hygiene standards include the brown sugar oolong tea with pearls at JLD Dragon's Zhongshan-Minquan branch (吉龍糖中山民權門市), Fukuoka Yame green tea latte at 7-Eleven's Sing-Fu branch (興復門市), green tea at Beitou's Yi-ji-bang restaurant (乙吉玤創意料理), chocolate chip milkshake at CITYMILK's Da'an branch (果村企業社大安分店), sugar cane smoothie at Sugarcane Mama's Yongji branch (甘蔗の媽媽永吉店), and chocolate snow ice at Wanhua District's Sing-Chun ice shop (幸春豆花店), reported UDN.

According to 7-Eleven, the finding is an individual case at a single branch, which has been asked to improve hygienic conditions immediately. The company also said that it would conduct food safety checks at all of its branches across Taiwan.

Yi-ji-bang restaurant attributed the result to its ice-making machine, which is under repair at the moment. CITYMILK reportedly faulted its water and said it would change the filter more frequently in the future.

Sugarcane Mama's Yongji branch blamed its smoothie machines for the problem and promised to ensure the hygiene of its equipment and environment. Meanwhile, Sing-Chun ice shop said the product in question was bought from its supplier, whom they would ask to provide a food hygiene certificate.

The shops whose products did not pass the hygiene test are in violation of the Act Governing Food Sanitation and will thus face a fine of NT$30,000 (US$948), reported the Liberty Times. The authorities will also conduct follow-up examinations to ensure the products are up to standard.

Although the excessive number of Coliform bacteria found in the samples are unlikely to cause food poisoning, the do indicate poor hygiene. The Department of Health called for businesses to ensure up-to-standard food hygiene while making and selling their products for customers to pay close attention to the hygienic conditions of an establishment before making a purchase.